Review: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

For the last several days, I have been taking both of Samsung’s new foldables with me when I leave the home. Of course, it’s largely for testing reasons, but when I run into friends, I also like to play a fun game. I take both of them out, place them in front of the individual, and observe their response.

The findings of this very unscientific methodology are, in my opinion, broadly in line with the figures the mobile giant released right before the most recent unpacked event. According to a blog post by mobile chief TM Roh, “Last year, 70% of Galaxy foldable users went to the Flip to let them experience the world from a new point of view.”

I believe Samsung was taken aback by the sentiment. The Galaxy Z Fold had previously been positioned by the firm as the cornerstone of its foldables strategy. Why not, then? Bigger, flashier, more expensive, and probably most significantly, it was the first. The object has served as a kind of Platonic ideal of folding phones. It is perhaps the folding form factor that most people picture. After all, carrying a tablet-sized screen around in your pocket was the initial promise.

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Unexpectedly, though, the flip form factor continues to appeal to something in our animal minds. Perhaps the years of using clamshell dumbphones have left their mark on us. It might be the pleasurable snap. We all probably suffer from some kind of unresolved big-phone weariness. Over the last 10 years, both screen sizes and the phones that contain them have increased. It’s a surprising trend in the electronics industry, especially for a gadget that is meant to be worn constantly.

The folding functionality here serves a completely different purpose, which is why there is a little element of surprise. You cannot bring a tablet with you while using the Galaxy Z Flip. The Flip’s 6.7-inch screen is downright acceptable in comparison to the Fold’s 7.6 inches when it is fully unfurled. That is on par with the iPhone Pro Max and somewhat less than the Galaxy S22 Ultra. By 2020 standards, the phone’s screen isn’t very big.

However, the kind of functionality that appeals to a wide audience is the ability to snap it shut, fit it in your pocket, and go on. The Galaxy Z Flip is a wonderful thing, which helps it along. After the novelty wears off, it is something with a practical function; it is one that looks beautiful and makes sense. We used to have a jeans test in the early days of the phablet. Will the gadget fit in your denim pockets, to put it simply? The majority of the time, the response was “no,” which is remarkable considering how lopsided the body-to-screen ratio was at the time.

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Thankfully, technology has made it possible to reduce the size of phones surrounding displays as their size has continued to increase. The foldable is clearly the next phase of that progression. We’re reducing the amount of money in our wallets more and more. Phones do a lot of the labor-intensive tasks, acting as identification, credit cards, and increasingly, keys. Slim is the way to go for those of us who still carry wallets about (guilty). Samsung may not have realised at first that it was inventing the remedy for the enormous phone phenomena that it had a major hand in generating.

The two gadgets’ simultaneous releases have provided some intriguing new information about what, if anything, people are searching for in a foldable. I’ll admit that I believe that these items’ propensity to flip over is partly a result of their early release. That initially meant that there was an underlying agreement that there would be imperfections. It is now acknowledging the improvements that need to be made a few generations later.

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For someone who has been covering this category for so long, it’s actually a breath of new air. I sometimes mention how modern phones are generally of decent quality. Boring is the unintentional result of quite decent. Flagship phones are uninteresting. That essentially describes the beginning of a business like nothing. Since the industry has chosen a form factor, all modifications must now adhere to a set of pretty rigid guidelines. What if there was a way to revive consumer interest in smartphones?

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One such future is shown by the foldable. The two most pressing problems with the first Galaxy Fold, apart from the obvious early objections, were 1) The front screen’s incredibly small size and 2) Its size and weight. The first issue has been mostly resolved by the firm (I’ll reserve it for our Fold review), but the second one is still a problem.

The relative mobility of foldable gadgets is one of their main selling factors, and the product really offers a novel way to be huge and heavy. The Fold’s greater bulk may be addressed in future upgrades, and maybe consumer perception of the devices will change, but for now, the Flip easily beats the Fold. Although it’s much too soon to say for sure, it seems reasonable to say that the flip form factor is the future of foldables right now.

The gadget continues to struggle with a front screen that is mostly unusable. It still measures 1.9 inches and has a resolution of 512 x 260. At first sight, the hardware constraints are clear. It’s mostly used for notifications, such as calendar, weather, and time alerts. Although you can add a few widgets, the main benefit is the ability to quickly check information without having to open the phone.

However, depending on outside parties to come up with inventive applications for the design is one of the most intriguing aspects of the emerging form factor. For example, the ability to use the screen as a preview for selfies has been made available to developers like Meta, who are enabling the feature for Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp. This enables you to place the fold on the desk in front of you, prop the top up, and get a preview of yourself while taking the photo.

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I like the design aesthetic the firm has chosen, and the matte surface on the glass that faces the outside feels nice in the touch. The panels easily support Samsung’s leading position in customised configurable hardware finishes. Future generations of the phone could continue to see the facing display occupying a larger portion of the front, but to be quite honest, I believe there’s a case to be made for the actual process of shutting to be a little less connected for a while. Even better, there should be a setting that allows alerts (sounds, vibration, or silenced) to alter depending on whether the phone is open or closed.

The same AMOLED display is present, but it now has a 120Hz refresh rate and an upper hole punch camera. In actuality, the exterior hardware resembles the Flip 3 the most. Samsung is not entirely at fault; the Flip has generally felt correct from the start. However, I’m very interested to see whether Lenovo succeeds with the newest Motorola Razr. Honestly, the firm doesn’t have a lot of competition in this market forcing it to make substantial adjustments. What I’ve seen thus far is good.

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The majority of the system modifications are internal. This specifically entails upgrading the Snapdragon 888 from last year to the new 8+ Gen 1 (we need to address the new naming system). The new silicon also offers advantages in terms of camera performance and battery life in addition to a performance boost.

The battery’s own capacity has increased from 3,300mAh to 3,700mAh. Given that the battery must be divided in two and hinged apart, there are still certain restrictions on the battery front. That essentially indicates that there is less space than in a similarly sized, non-foldable device. Overall, it should last you for approximately a day of usage, maybe more if you fold it shut more often.

The camera hardware is virtually the same, consisting of two 12-megapixel lenses on the back (primary and super wide) and a 10-megapixel lens on the front. Even if the zoom is a little underwhelming, the camera system is completely enough, and the business will undoubtedly make improvements in future editions. However, you do get certain upgrades, such as a brighter sensor and enhanced night mode, which will enhance your photography in low light.

Also Read: What is an “AI camera” in Smartphones?

The price is another distinguishing factor in the contest between Flip and Fold. Although $1,000 is by no means cheap, we have gradually come to accept it as the going rate for premium gadgets. On the other side, the $1,800 Fold is not for the timid.

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Samsung’s foldables have advanced to the point where upgrades are more incremental, as I said in the original preview. Who can blame them, though, given how much the firm dominates the market? Nothing currently comes close to the Galaxy Flip as the closest thing we have to a popular foldable.

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